FERC Nominee Ron Binz Withdraws Amid Coal Pushback

Oct. 1, 2013
President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead FERC announced Tuesday that he had pulled his name from consideration in the face of mounting opposition from coal supporters and a stalemate in a crucial Senate committee.

Ron Binz has pulled out of the running for FERC chairman as opposition from the coal industry and other organizations continued. Binz stated that he was withdrawing so that the president could move forward with another nominee, allowing the FERC to continue its important work with a full complement of commissioners. (Of course the President is busy at this moment with the government shutdown.)

Politico reported that the war over Binz was unprecedented among the four current FERC commissioners, along with outgoing Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, who had all been confirmed by the Senate on a simple voice vote. Binz's nomination drew an unusual flurry of circumstances: Unlike many past nominees for FERC, he wasn’t paired with a nominee from the other party to ensure a smoother confirmation. Some found it odd that Obama chose an outsider to chair FERC rather than elevate a sitting commissioner.

Critics claimed that Binz’s past work as chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission showed an anti-coal bias, and he quickly drew criticism from groups such as the American Energy Alliance and the American Tradition Institute. Eventually, the issue prompted Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to announce his opposition to Binz, a move that would have led to a tie vote on the nomination in the committee....(Politico)

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